There’s a new lighting collection coming to High Point Market next month — KingsHaven — and while the line may be new to the North Carolina home furnishings market, its founder/designer is not new to interior or product design. Over the past five years, Lauren Wylonis has immersed herself in the varied disciplines of interiors when it comes to creating beautiful home spaces — designer, retailer, product designer and author. And that’s after 15 years as a forensic psychiatrist.
When asked what inspired her transition to home design, Wylonis says, “I really love art. Our homes are the art that’s with us every way and every day. I feel lucky to be able to design spaces that influence people’s moods and positively affect how they live in their homes.”
In her interior design career, and as outlined in her first book, At Home with KingsHaven, Wylonis’s style incorporates both historic and contemporary design elements within the restoration and construction projects she’s undertaken in and around Philadelphia — including the Grantham Estate, which was designed by William Lightfoot Price in 1895; the Heydon Estate, which was designed by Bissell & Sinkler in 1929; and Agincourt, a new-construction home that was designed with the history of the area in mind. “We got started in remodeling and designing historic homes first,” she says.
A Mix of Influences
In addition to the historic details, however, Wylonis is also considerate of her clients. “I feel that mindfulness in design is really important. Designing with a sense of wellness is important for people’s mood and health every day,” the former psychiatrist notes. “We should be designing to reduce stress levels, not increase them.” To ensure her customers love the homes she designs for them, Wylonis said she pays attention to who’s going to live in the space and what their activities look like, and then tailors her design to create homes that allow her customers to be their “happiest, healthiest, best selves in the space.”
Bringing Kingshaven to the Masses
For Wylonis, good lighting goes a long way toward creating functional, comfortable spaces. Designing to a historic aesthetic but with modern conveniences, finding lighting proved challenging, so she began designing her own, mixing modern elements with tried-and-true materials and construction techniques.
“I have a love of history and the craftsmen who have contributed to architecture and design for hundreds of years,” Wylonis says. “Appreciating the takeaways from years ago is important. I love the idea of stories in a home, particularly one of past lives. They contribute to a sense of depth and grounding for the people now living in that home.”
While Wylonis will showcase her lighting in High Point this spring, her line of products extends into home decor as well, much of it focused on that blend of old and new. “We do a number of products that are based on historic design lines,” she notes. “We’ll create a more transitional version of an antique fixture by streamlining it. You still get the distinctive lines of the architecture but maybe we’ll use a warm LED bulb so it’s more energy efficient.”
Where Wylonis and her product team don’t improvise is in the quality of the craftsmanship and materials used in her home furnishings. The foundation of much of her product design revolves around iron and exotic woods, materials she says give the KingsHaven collection its texture. “You really have a depth in those fixtures as part of the design of a room.”
Wylonis says the company employs artisans from around the globe who are experts in their craft, be that basket weavers from the Darién Rainforest or blacksmiths from Ecuador. While the manufacture of KingsHaven designs are sourced in areas such as South America, finishing work is done in the United States, which gives Wylonis and her KingsHaven team the ability to customize based on customer requests. With 52 finishes and more than 70 different colors of glass that the company designs with, the possibilities for those interested in KingsHaven lighting are endless.
Currently, KingsHaven home furnishings are available through a few upscale retailers and the company’s namesake retail/design emporium on the Philadelphia Main Line — where Wylonis curates a selection of fine lighting, home accessories and furniture — as well as on the company’s website.
Coming this spring, KingsHaven will launch its lighting in the Woodbridge Furniture High Point showroom and is also opening a showroom in New York at the D&D building. “We’re trying to increase our visibility and accessibility to people who are interested in quality materials and workmanship,” Wylonis says.
As for home design, that funnels through KingsHaven’s property companies, KingsHaven Properties and KingsHaven Design, as Wylonis concentrates on building the product side of the KingsHaven brand.